Thursday, March 5, 2015 6:57 am CST

-21 degrees   Clear   Wind  Calm.

 Sunrise   6:44 am CST   Sunset 6:05 pm CST. 

There is something wrong with this picture.. 

It is a beautiful, sunny, "spring" morning.  

But it is 21 degrees below zero!. 

That just is not right for this time of year.

 Even though March can be our snowiest month, usually we do not have the extreme cold that we are seeing this year.. 

There is an old saying among Minnesotans.  We like to call it "The Theater of Seasons".  And this year has been no exception.  

In fact this year has been the perfect example of that in one of the more exciting 'productions' of recent memory.. In November we had a huge snowstorm here that dumped 16 to 18 inches of snow.  Then December and January were relatively low snow months with no bitterly cold weather.. Then came February!  And we have had a lot of very cold weather.. 

Hopefully this is our last blast of the brutal cold.  

This year has been an unusually cold and snowy winter all across the country, especially in the Northeast!. The cold and snow that has reached all the way down into the Deep South has hopefully kept our loons safely in place on the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.. 

If you have been following the juvenile loons on the USGS page, you have seen they are still on the Gulf of Mexico,  clustered especially along the South Florida coast.

USGS Juvenile Loon Tracking Website . 

It will be so very interesting to watch these juvenile loons to see how they behave when the spring migration begins.  

Conventional wisdom has told us that juveniles will stay down on the Gulf for 2 to 3 years before they make their first trip back north. 

But there is SO little that is known of the life of Common Loons during the winter months.  So the data from these loons will add immeasurably to our knowledge about them and especially about juvenile loons.  

We can be very thankful to Kevin Kenow from the USGS, along with his team of Steve and Luke and Bob, for their work in making it possible for us to be a part of this interesting research.

Unfortunately it appears that already 4 of the loons have died.  One of them was apparently shot!  He was somewhere along the Mississippi River between Arkansas and Tennessee last November.

By now, the adults should be already changing back into their black and white plumage that we are so familiar with and that we know and love.  They have been a drab, non-descript brownish gray all winter.  But soon will once again be the typical beautiful black and white.

With the approach of the spring migration, they are changing back into their 'tuxedos' and they are also regaining their voices to express their excitement about coming back home.  But with all the lakes here in Minnesota still solidly covered with thick ice, they must just wait for a while yet

The weather forecast for this weekend says that we may reach 50 degrees here at the loon's lake

That is a swing of 70 degrees in just a few days!. And it means that things will start to change rapidly

Right now, the loon's nesting platform is buried under a big snow drift of snow that has blown off the lake.  All that is visible is the 'post' that sticks up from the corner of the raft where the camera gets mounted.  It looks like a periscope from a submarine that is looking to see what the world and weather are like "up there".

For sure we are weeks away, if not a month or more, from being able to do anything with the nest.  Let alone being able to put it in a lake that will finally be ice free

But now is the time for you to prepare for another season with our loons.  It will be here before we know it.

 Tell your family and your friends to get ready.  Encourage your children's or granchildren's teachers to consider using the LoonCam as a wonderful teaching tool for their students.  The myriad of stories from teachers of how they have used the LoonCam to not only teach but to motivate students has been humbling.

 It makes all the hard work worthwhile.. So here is to another successful nesting season ... for ALL our loons!. 


Copyright 2015  Larry R Backlund..